RIP to the iPhone Mini


Apple on Wednesday unveiled a new large-screen iPhone 14 Max that replaces the tiny-little-small-hand-friendly iPhone 13 Mini in the new 2022-2023 lineup.

The regular iPhone 14 keeps its 6.1″ display and $799 price tag, while the iPhone 14 Max serves buyers with a substantially larger 6.7″ screen for an extra $100 of cold-hard cash.

By contrast, the iPhone 13 Mini was a much more pocket-friendly device in terms of screen size and price. The iPhone 13’s Mini display was just a mere 5.2″ and was priced at $679 in last year’s lineup. The best option for iPhone Mini buyers right now is either buying into a regular iPhone 14, or more obviously holding onto existing devices. If you don’t already own an iPhone 13 Mini, Apple “slashed” the price to a mere $599 and retained it in the lineup. So iPhone 12 mini owners at least have some form of upgrade path.

While prices are generally maintained in the US for another year, it’s important to recognise there have been some fairly steep increases elsewhere (particularly Europe) due to currency weakness and soaring inflation.

Anyway, let me get back to the new-ish iPhone 14 phones…

These new regular (non-pro) iPhones are very similar to last year’s models with some slight refinements and improvements.

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max both have the same A15 Bionic processor as last year. The notch is unchanged, the design is the same, and there’s a new light blue color option (in place of green).

In the US at least, Apple has started the transition to eSIM only by eliminating the SIM card tray with these new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max devices. Internationally, you’ll still be able to slot in small bits of plastic to start using your chosen phone plan and provider. Like an animal.

As rumoured, Apple is indeed rolling out SOS emergency satellite connectivity this year. Caveats being – as long as you have an unobstructed view of the sky, can point your iPhone in the right direction towards a satellite, and you’re in either the US or Canada starting in November, 2022.

Apple has implemented some neat satellite guidance technology to help point your iPhone in the correct direction of a satellite. And Apple says iOS 16 will also compress any message texts you may send over satellite to reduce overall size of data and speed up transmission.

Apple has even setup a dedicated call centre to route text message content to emergency services where they aren’t accepted directly by the emergency service provider.

All of this satellite stuff is free for two years and then, presumably, Apple intends on selling you this as another value-added subscription service. I’m sure we all clearly need another subscription service in our life!

Sadly, there has been no word yet on when satellite connectivity might roll out beyond the borders of the US and Canada.

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max displays are broadly the same as before, albeit one is larger than before – obviously. Both iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max go up-to 1200 nits for some added brightness goodness. That’s the only real change with the displays.

The camera system with iPhone 14 has certainly been improved. A larger 12 megapixel main sensor with a wider F1.5 aperture for better performance in low-light conditions. The selfie camera on the front has also been bumped up to 12 megapixels, and it can now autofocus in on you for Instagramming and TikToks.

Image processing off camera has been improved with something Apple is marketing as Photonic Engine. Essentially speaking, this nuevo Proceso de Photonical should result in better quality images in difficult lighting conditions. Cool.

There’s still no Telephoto Lens or ProMotion 120Hz as found on the iPhone Pro Series. But that’s no surprise.

Overall I’m pretty satisfied with this year’s improvements over the now positively ancient iPhone 13.

These new iPhones undoubtedly offer solid improvement year-over-year. I especially think the new iPhone 14 Max will prove a big hit with customers. It is just unfortunate there’s no room for an iPhone 14 Mini in the new lineup. So it really is ciao to the iPhone Mini…. for now!

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